A Marathon In April? Whose Idea Was That?

Well the first couple of weeks of Boston training have been “interesting” so far. For starters, I caught a bad cold two days before the training plan began. It has been almost three years since I have had a cold! Then, the day before the first run, the temperatures in Minneapolis plummeted to well below zero and remained there the entire week.

The combination of the weather and having a raging cold were just too much so I decided to modify the plan. Instead of increasing mileage for 15 weeks and tapering for 3, I will reduce the taper period to two weeks and delay training for a week. This actually worked out well because the next week my cold was gone and the temps went back up into the 30’s.

The first two runs of 8 miles and 11 miles went smoothly but it was clear that I was not in as good of shape as I thought. By the third day my calves and quads were pretty sore but, thankfully, the third workout was a nice, slow 5 mile recovery run. By Thursday I felt great and knocked out 9 miles at aerobic pace with surprising ease. After another recovery run on Friday, I was ready for the first long run of run 15 miles.

However, when I woke up on Saturday morning, the temp was in the mid 30’s but it was pouring rain mixed with sleet and an intense wind. Several streets in the neighborhood were flooding because many of the drains were covered with snow.

Again, it was time to come up with plan B. This time I opted to substitute the 15 mile long run with a 50 mile ride on the bike trainer in the basement. To replicate a slower pace, I kept my heart rate at around 110 bpm.

Sunday was rest day but the temperature took a nose-dive and all of the standing water outside froze solid. By Monday morning, walking on the sidewalks was dangerous. Running was out of the question. I resorted to the bike trainer again and replaced the 8 mile run with a 30 mile ride at normal speed. I had to skip the Tuesday workout because of time issues but finished the rest of the week without trouble.

Running in the winter is not new to me. I have run regularily in the winter for years. However, there is a big difference between casual running and running on a schedule in the winter.

Although it has been tough going so far, there have also been a few positives. The first one is that I have surprised myself with being able to hit the target paces for the required distances. The second one is that on New Years Eve I dinged the 1000 mile mark for the year. Also, my Plantar Fascitis has been a non-factor thus far. And finally, I accidentally discovered that my expensive headlamp can withstand an entire cycle in the clothes washer and still work.

Two weeks down, fifteen to go.

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